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Dance, when you’re broken open.
Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of fighting. Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you’re perfectly free.


“It is not unusual to find oneself drenched to the bone while walking in the early morning mists of Waipio Valley in Hawai‘i or the Ofafa Valley in Africa,” writes Gavin Harrison. “For me the adventure of Awakening has been mostly like that—a gradual soaking, with intermittent bolts of clarity, just like lightning piercing the depths of an African thunderstorm.”

Harrison is the author of In the Lap of the Buddha and recently published a new book, Petals and Blood: Stories, Dharma & Poems of Ecstasy, Awakening & Annihilation where the poems below first appeared. For Harrison, “Awakening is a death in life, and a returning. Gone is the illusion of who and what I previously thought myself to be. The significance of the dream world I cherished has evaporated. Today I know that I am limitlessly larger than the smallness I once lived. At last I have returned to the innocence of my magical garden, seasoned and aged by the passage of time.”

A long time supporter and friend of the Men’s Resource Center (MRC), where Voice Male began as a newsletter in 1983, Gavin was a recipient of the MRC’s “Challenge for Change Award” in 1998 when he lived in western Massachusetts.







Raise a fist of freedom
to the sky.Touch the ground
as the Buddha did.

Seize your birthright.

Let the occupation begin.

Occupy your heart
and let the walls to your Loving
come crumbling down.

Occupy your indignation
that anything less than Liberation
will just not do.

Occupy your willingness
to never forget
who you really, really are,
ever again.

Be true to your heart’s
deepest longing.

Lift your voice to the sky
and shout your
True Name
to the heavens above.

Occupy an honesty to this moment,
and move
from the Sacred Ground
of your knowing.

Emancipate your Love
and Be all that
you pray for.

And may this occupation
be the one that ends all occupations,
forever.Remember the Big Bang,
that great miracle of creation?

Something from nothing?

You are this moment’s expression
of that creative force.

Occupy the force of nature
that you are.

And if anyone
messes with your occupation,
set up camp
anywhere and everywhere.

This is where
the rubber hits the road.

Raise your fist.


Grab the sky.

Touch the ground.

Seize your birthright.

Unfurl great wings.

Occupy all streets everywhere
with your Loving.





I am checking in,
My Beloved.
We are in agreement
that between us
there will be no secrets,

Well, here’s the thing.

At the moment I am bewildered, unhappy
rather pissed off with You.

This Homecoming
feels more like a hostile takeover
than a benevolence these days.


An annihilation.

A humiliation.

Are You a nasty response
to desperate prayer?

A Holy Slap in the face,

when I’m down
upon my bloody kneesIn Deuteronomy I have read
that You are a jealous,
and unforgiving God.

It certainly feels that way right now.

let me not be hasty.

I’ll take a breath.

Calm down.
Reaction will get me nowhere.

Oh my God!

I’m getting a taste of what
The Good Book
has been saying all along.


You are unforgiving
of all that fragments me.

Angry with all that obscures
Your open doorway.

Jealous of all that separates me from You!


I have to be careful what I pray for.

You are no small potatoes!

Gavin Harrison is the author of In the Lap of the Buddha (Shambhala Publications) and a recipient of the Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award presented by H. H. the Dalai Lama for “kindness and quiet dedication to others.” Born in South Africa, he lives on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. He is a USA fundraiser for the Woza Moya Project supporting AIDS orphans in KwaZulu, South Africa.
Proceeds from the sale of Petals and Blood benefit the Woza Moya Project, (funding through gavinharrison.net), and Group of Hope, a prisoner-initiated program for orphaned children in South Africa (groupofhope.co.za and mothersforall.org). Learn more about Harrison’s work at gavinharrison.net and petalsandblood.com.